The 1930s through to World War II

With two schools operating in the same building, and the numbers of pupils consistently growing there was a shortage of space in the school. Through the log books of the Junior and Senior school you can see both Headteachers becoming frustrated with the lack of space. Plans were afoot to extend the school and its grounds, but the extra space was soon taken up with the growing numbers.

Illness was still prevalent with one Measles outbreak leading to half the school being off at one point in 1930, and there were a number of outbreaks of influenza and whooping cough.

Some of the children went to Winchester Cathedral to celebrate Empire Day in June 1931.

On 30 June 1932, tragedy struck as Mr G.H. Barker, Headmaster, passed away at 3.05 pm in the Staff Room. It appeared that he had been unwell for a few weeks before this time, but still in school. Both the Senior and Junior school were closed on 4 July 1932 for his funeral. Mr N Lovell was appointed the new Headmaster in September of that year.

Although still very much acting as two separate institutions, the Junior and Senior school held a joint sports day in 1934 with over 600 parents and friends in attendance. From inspection reports we can see that the Senior school was subjected to pupils being ‘creamed’ to other schools as a part of the selective education at the time.

Ernie Nunn’s audio account (‘Ernie all about school’, below), gives an account of how it felt to be student at that time. He discusses the exam process, staying at school until he was 14 years old, liking nature walks, but not enjoying swimming at Bull Drove. Helen also recalls swimming lessons (‘Helen, Bull Drove story’), but didn’t like them either! Ernie also recalls (‘Ernie Nunn; Teacher’s memory’), being punished by the Headmaster for stealing apples.

Both schools came together for a service on the occasion of the funeral of His Late Majesty George V. All pupils assembled and listened to the radio service from Windsor. Mr Brace and five children of the top class attended a Memorial Service at the Cathedral.

In September 1938 with the prospect of war growing and fear that gas would be used as a weapon, the Government began a programme of issuing gas masks or respirators to the population. The school was responsible for distributing and fitting the masks and as such the school was closed for a number of days towards the end of September so that the staff could carry out this work.

War actually broke out on 3 September 1939, two days after Hitler invaded Poland, nearly a year after the gas masks were distributed. St Faiths school moved into Stanmore on the 8 September 1939. The first account of air raids in the school log books came on 12 July 1940, with fighting reported on 23 August, 21 September and 25 September 1940. There are a number of accounts of aeroplanes crashing in the area though with reports of a Proctor 1a crashing near Stanmore Lane, Winchester on 12 March 1940, and an account (‘Bill Brown; German Plane Crash’ below) of a German Plane coming down near the school and the local children being allowed to sit inside the cabin the following day.

On 3 December 1940 a group of 105 refugee children from Southampton arrived at the school.

The war continued, with numerous visits to the air raid shelters and attendance affected by late night air raids disturbing everyone’s sleep. School life continued as best it could with pupils receiving swimming certificates and visits from the school dentist for example, and getting a half day holiday for exceeding their fund raising target of £250 for National Savings for “Salute the Soldier”.

Whilst the war was not yet over, in January 1945, the Headmasters of the Junior and Senior school swapped roles. This was the start of a big change for the school.


The school and school grounds were extended in 1930

Even before the building work had started, the council were working on buying more land to expand the school.   Courtesy of Hampshire Archives

Even before the building work had started, the council were working on buying more land to expand the school.

Courtesy of Hampshire Archives

Poster giving notice of the city's proposal to provide additional accommodation for about 170 children, Aug 1930   Courtesy of Hampshire Archives

Poster giving notice of the city's proposal to provide additional accommodation for about 170 children, Aug 1930

Courtesy of Hampshire Archives

Stanmore School, Stanmore Lane and Battery Hill, Winchester, June 1930

Stanmore School, Stanmore Lane and Battery Hill, Winchester, June 1930


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Obituary of Mr Georg Barker


Accounts of life at school

A Postcard For Stanmore Art and History Project by Laurence Dube-Rushby Commissioned by Winchester City Council 2014
A Postcard for Stanmore Art and History Project by Laurence Dube-Rushby Commissioned by Winchester City Council and Stanmore Community Association
A Postcard For Stanmore Art and History project By Laurence Dube-Rushby Commissioned by Winchester City Council and Stanmore Community Association Image curtsy of Hampshire Chronicle
A Postcard for Stanmore Art and History Project by Laurence Dube-Rushby Commissioned by Winchester City Council and Stanmore Community Association - Image curtsy of Hampshire Chronicle -

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Selected extracts from the Stanmore School Junior Department Log Book

1 March 1930

The measles epidemic has spread very rapidly this week. Large numbers of children are affected.  Average for week 186.5 Percentage 50.1

2 June 1931

The older children were taken to the Cathedral this morning to take part in an Empire Day Service, during the time set apart for religious education.

8 September 1931 

A letter has been received from the Director stating that the class which is housed in the hall, must leave the hall at 3.30pm each day, in order that the hall may be left free for the Senior department.  As no other room than the Baby-room is available for these children, the class will be very inconvenienced, so neither desk nor chairs in that room are suitable for them.  Average for the week 335.7

13 April 1932

A letter has been received from the Education Office giving instructions for the Juniors to be removed from the hall, into the Art Room in the Junior department is therefore to have the use of eight classrooms and the Art Room.

4 July 1932

The school was closed this afternoon for the funeral of Mr G.H. Barker, the Headmaster of the Senior School, who died suddenly in school on June 30th.

17 July 1936

Fifty children and eight teachers spent an enjoyable day in London – sightseeing from a bus, and a short visit to St Paul’s, Westminster and the Tower in the morning and a visit to the Zoological Gardens in the afternoon.

23 September 1938

Beginning on Monday next, children are being dismissed at 3.30pm in order that they and other members of their families may attend here and be fitted with gas masks.

26 September 1938

Instructions to close the school received, in order that teachers & others could distribute respirators on the Stanmore Estate.  The school remained closed for two days.

5 September 1939

School re-opened.  Headmistress returned.  Giving to war conditions, St Faiths School has been transferred here.  Several children evacuated from danger zones have also been admitted.  It will take a few days to get things arranged for normal working.

8 September 1939

At the moment St Faiths School has been accommodated in the Art Room and the teachers staff room.  The Special Class previously held in the Art Room has been transferred to the Medical Officers room.  It will take a few days next week to get them properly arranged.  Several children have been admitted this week; some of them ordinary Stanmore children & others have come from danger zones.

20 October 1939

Average for the week 372.2

12 July 1940

Almost immediately after school hours, the Air Raid Siren was sounded and the children had to be brought back for an hour.

16 July 1940

The Air Raid warning was sounded again this afternoon, just at the time children were coming into school. They were taken to the shelters and kept there until the ‘Clear’ signal was given. Almost as soon as they reached their rooms and were settling down, the warning went again, and a second journey had to be made. This lasted until 2.40 p.m.

19 July 1940

The Air Raid warning sounded at 12 o’clock today as the children were about to get ready to leave. They therefore had to go to the shelters, where they remained till the “All Clear” signal went at 12.10 p.m.

21 July 1940

Air Raid warning sounded at 10.35 a.m. and “all Clear” signal at 10.45 a.m.

21 August 1940

The warning sounded again at 1.45 p.m. as children were coming to school. Those present went into shelters with teachers who were present. They had to remain until 2.15 p.m.

23 August 1940

Air raid 2.40 p.m. No warning - bombs and machine guns heard. Children went to shelters, where they remained till 3.25.

13 September 1940

Average for the week 339.5. Attendance has been interfered with on account of restless nights.

19 September 1940

Twelve children went with Mr Freeman this afternoon, to St John’s Rooms to get Swimming Certificates which they have won this year. The girls also won the Swimming Shield.

21 September 1940

On arrival at school this afternoon it was found that a number of planes were in the sky almost overhead, and fighting was taking place. We adjourned to the shelters and had to remain there until 2.15 p.m. The registers could not be marked until then. A number of balloons were set on fire.

23 September 1940

The school dentist spent the day at the school.

24 September 1940

The air raid warning was given just before 3 p.m. this afternoon, and we had to go to the shelters again. The ‘all clear” signal sounded just after 4 p.m.

25 September 1940

Heavy firing was taking place quite close this afternoon, and we had to go to the shelters again for about 15 minutes.

27 September 1940

The air raid warning sounded about 9.35 a.m. We went to the shelter but the “all clear sounded in a few minutes.


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Selected extracts from the Stanmore School Senior Department Log Book

19 September 1930

Copy of Report by H.M.I. Mr J. G(?) Winn.  School inspected on 15thJuly 1930.  
The circumstances here are exceptional, and will not become normal for two to three years.  The numbers in this department are small, while the Junior School is overflowing. This inequality is largely due to the fact that the school serves a newly inhabited area in which the majority of children are still young. 

The Senior Department has not yet settled down.  It contains children who have come from several other schools at all ages, and stages of development.  As there are only 130 on books it has been difficult to classify them.  Seeing however, that there are a Head Master and five assistants for this small number, it should be possible to give plenty of “individual attention”.

There is a great difference here between the “quick movers” and the “slow movers”.  Some of the former do very good work, especially in English subjects, while the work of the more backward is very weak indeed.

The only subject taken outside the ordinary elementary school curriculum is Practical Science. So far it does not appear to have been taught very successfully. Too much has been attempted, and the children have no solid grounding in the elements.  Instruction, however, has been carried on under a sever handicap, as the so-called “Science Room” is much too small for practical work, and is constantly in use as an ordinary classroom.  The authority intend to build a larger room as part of the necessary extension of the premises.  Of the children who entered the school during the past year:-

13 were between 11 and 11 ½ years of age

8 were between 11 ½ and 12 years of age

11 were between 12 and 12 ½ years of age

Unless the average age of entry is reduced, it will be impossible to give a satisfactory course of “Advanced Instruction”.

23 October 1930 

Owing to Dental Inspection of Junior School, no Science taken, since there is no room into which to put class I.B.  It is impossible to successfully run a school under these conditions.

23 December 1931

On books 172 Av Attendance 147 85% School closed for Xmas vacation.  I have again made application for the use of the Assembly Hall, since there has been no corporate assembly of the Senior School for about 18 months.  The Headmaster is never able to meet the school as a whole, and as a consequence it consists of 5 separate units, with no feeling of corporate life.

30 June 1932 

Mr G.H. Barker, Headmaster, passed away at 3.(0)5 pm in the Staff Room.

4 July 1932

The school is closed this afternoon on account of Mr G.H. Barkers funeral.

30 September 1932 

On Books 194 Av Attendance 179.2 92.8 Appointment of Mr N Lovell confirmed by City Education Committee.  Appointed Headmaster as from September 1st 1932.

6 January 1933 

No on roll 182 Average Attendance 145 Percentage 79.7  The average attendance being so low, is due to the prevalence of whooping cough and influenza

13 January 1933 

No on roll 180 Average Attendance 133 Percentage 73.8  The epidemic of influenza continues to be severe.  The attendance is gradually decreasing.

10 February 1933

Av Attendance 157 No on roll 178 Percentage 88.2%  The influenza epidemic has abated considerably as the percentage attendance shows, but there a still numbers of exclusions – contacts with cases of whooping cough, and influenza.

7 June 1934 

The Senior and Junior Schools Sports were held this afternoon in the Playing Field.  About six hundred parents and friends were present.  The weather was fine, and the sports were completed according to schedule. Among the visitors were the Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs Symes, Councillor and Mrs Pinsent, C Cllr and Mrs Sankey, C Cllr and Mrs Bones, Concillors Perkins and Douglas, C Cllr Miss Firmstone, Mrs Munt, Mr J A Peart and Mr Woodiviss.

30 November 1934 

On roll 162 Av att 143 88.5% The average attendance has fallen considerably owing to many exclusions of contact with scarlet fever.  Many children have severe colds.

19 March 1935

Copy of HM Inspector’s Report. “Inspected on 5thNovember 1934 Report by HMI Mr J A B Newman

1. This is a small Senior mixed school of well under 200 children in inadequate premises.  There is no spare room of any kind and a class has to be taught in the Hall.

Like the other senior schools in the City it is “creamed” to an unusual extent by the Selective Central School and the Secondary Schools.  This circumstance is, however, compensated for by the scale of staffing which, owing to the small size of the school and the presence of facilities for Domestic Science and Manual Training, works out at a generous figure and results in small classes.

A satisfactory level of all-round attainment is reached.  The scholars tend, indeed, to be rather apathetic when questioned orally; but the staff are fully attuned(?) to this, and their own teaching as heard by the inspectors was stimulating enough.

2. Of the various school subjects, English and Arithmetic on the whole, and Science, Woodwork and Needlework are quite creditable; and Physical Training (including swimming) and Games are well taken.  Results in practical Arithmetic might be better.  In English the spelling is rather weak in the lower forms, and ‘B’ divisions but is being systematically dealt with, and considerable efforts are being made to train the children to read aloud well and distinctively.  Good work is also done in Gardening, of which the educational advantages for these boys are fully realised.

There are no special facilities for Practical Science, but the subject is presented in a very real and interesting way, and the enterprise shown by the teacher taking the subject deserves praise.  The young teacher of the lowest class is dealing carefully with some weak entrants.

3. Certain aspects of the work were discussed with the Head Master during the inspection.  His planning of the work is thoughtful though in some directions the heavy syllabuses, e.g. in Biology, leave inadequate time for necessary revision.

It only remains to add that he has been here now for two year and is managing the school well. The staff are co-operating loyally with him. Although these include no graduates they have shown a very praiseworthy willingness to attend educational courses and are collectively above average in teaching power.

26 January 1936

A service was held in the Hall by the Director of Education, and an address by the Rev Hall on the occasion of the funeral of His Late Majesty George V. From 9.30 until 12 school was closed, registers not being marked.  At 1pm both schools assembled in the Hall and listened to the radio service from Windsor. Mr Brace and five children of the top class attended a Memorial Service at the Cathedral.

19 November 1937 

On roll 195 Av Attendance 174 89%  Many children in second year A class excluded with sore throats or heavy colds.

Report by HMI Mr A B Adams - School Inspected on 27th and 28th September 1937  Senior Mixed Department

The opening sequence of the Report in 1934 referred to the inadequacy of the premises.  This does not approach to have received the attention of the Authority.  The premises are still more inadequate in as much as the number of children has increased.

The recognised accommodation consists of four classrooms i.e. 160 places, the number on books at the beginning of the school year was 246, the average attendance of the last school year 181.

There is no Science room, no Craft room, the Practical Instruction rooms are at present used as Centres and the Hall is permanently used for class teaching purposes.

The general condition of the premises and grounds (which are very well kept) reflect credit on upon the Authority, but it must be emphasised that the building, new and attractive as it is, falls far short of what is expected in a modern senior school. 

Organisation and curriculum

It must once more be repeated than in view of the special circumstances of Winchester reorganisation, this is not a normal Senior School.  As an illustration it can be pointed out that of 54 children leaving the Junior Department at the end of the last school year, twenty six went to the “selective” school, leaving only one third of the age group to proceed here. This is therefore a Senior School devoid of an “A’ stream, and part of the usual “B” stream too.

An intelligence test given by the Headmaster to his last entry shoes that 42 per cent had an IQ ranging from 70 to 90 – the 8 per cent of children with high IQs have been removed to the “selective’ school since the beginning of the school year.

The Head Master is much to be congratulated upon what he has achieved under the above conditions.  The spirit of the school is excellent, the children are responsive, have a good command of spoken English and reach a satisfactory level in simple Arithmatic.  They are being encouraged to read in a most sensible manner.

There is an excellent school garden, which includes bee-keeping, and the Master in charge of the Physical Training, is, in the absence of any available hall or gymnasium, doing well.

The Senior Mistress responsible for the general welfare of the girls is performing her task with great sense and ability.

The Head Master is not afraid to try experiments.  Both the cinema and the wireless are gradually being brought into the school scheme.

Such Experimental Science as is possible under the conditions is being taught in an ingenious way, and there have been a satisfactory number of educational excursions both in and out of school hours.

Some good needlework was seen, but the scheme is somewhat ambitious considering the difficult conditions in which the work is done.

The crowded classrooms where the lessons are taken do not allow of the freedom of movement which individual work demands; there are no facilities for cutting out and pressing, and there is only one sewing machine.

Of the 123 girls on the roll on the occasion of the inspection, 36 were not receiving instruction in Housecraft.  In fact the course for all girls is only about half of the normal, as the Housecraft room, which is part of the school building, is used as a Centre, and only available for the girls from this school for four half-days each week.  Thus the Head Master is not responsible for the instruction, there is no correlation with the other work in the curriculum, and the teacher plays no part in the general school activities.

It is suggested to the Authority that they should make the Practical Instruction rooms an integral part of this school, available only for the children attending this school.

As indicated above, they could be fully employed.

The Housecraft room is well equipped and in good order.

The teaching so far as it goes is sound, but the short half-day lessons and the restricted course tend to make the work rigid and somewhat artificial, and development towards home management is not possible.

23 January 1938

The Leavers Class attended the Odeon Theatre to see the film Victoria the Great in place of their usual History lesson.

5 September 1939

School re-opened at 9am.  About 50% attended owing to Government Circular issues to parents informing the latter that, owing to the outbreak of war, schools would be closed for about a week.

8 September 1939

The low average attendance is due to the war conditions and circular mentioned on 5th September

29 January 1940 

School opened at 9am. 91 children present 58.7% A letter was received at 11.30 am instructing the Head Teacher to close the school until Monday 5th February

25 July 1940

The whole school did work of national importance on the farm of Mr Stratton during the afternoon.

16 August 1940

Air raid 1.20pm till 2.30  Children in shelter.

20 August 1940

Air raid 10.30 to 10.45.  Air raid 1.15 to 2.15 Registers marked at 2.30pm

23 August 1940

Air raid 2.30 – 3.30

24 September 1940

Air raid alarm 1.40 – 2.10pm Air raid alarm 3.00 to 4.00 pm

27 September 1940

Air raid alarm 9.15 -9.40

18 November 1940

School opened 10 am due to all night raid

20th– ditto

21st– ditto

22nd– ditto

3 December 1940

School closed at 4pm.  Refugees to come to the school.  On roll 184 Av attendance 171 93%

4 December 1940

105 refugees from Southampton arrived.  Junior and Senior Staff with others are attending to their needs.

26 March 1941

11.30am Alert sounded 12.45 all clear 1.05 alert sounded 1.50 all clear Registers closed 2.15

5 May 1944

A special effort has been made during the week, by all classes, to raise a sum of £250, National Savings for “Salute the Soldier” week.  All classes passed their targets and a grand total of £444 6 0 was raised (Half holiday granted on 26th May as a reward).

17 January 1945

Mr Lovell today took charge of the Junior School and Mr Freeman the Senior School.  Mrs Freeman commenced duty in charge of the Leavers Class.